Generations of storytellers, historians, and scientists have been fascinated by the ability of unique individuals to conquer overwhelming adversity in order to achieve their goals. Storytellers have referred to these individuals as “heroes,” while historians have identified them as “leaders.” Scientists, on the other hand, have focused on the different factors affecting behavior, labeling them as “resilient.”
In this country, 1 out of 2 women experience some form of physical, sexual, or psychological trauma and subsequent depression/anxiety in their lifetime. Violence against women occurs within all demographic groups, cutting across educational levels, religious affiliations, racial/ethnic groups, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic class. This statistic has been illustrated by the recent #METOO movement, where women have demonstrated their resilience by telling their stories in defiance of years of silent shame and victim blaming.
Dr. Chang developed a resilience-based trauma treatment approach, establishing “Women’s Resilience Program,” which served women of the San Diego community. Her research shows that resilience is a set of skills that can be learned by enhancing cognitive flexibility, increasing emotional/social support, refining problem-solving skills, and developing a healthier lifestyle. Over the years, her resilience treatment model has evolved. She has integrated this set of resilience skills with the process of making meaning in men and women’s lives. Whether trauma is an individual’s primary issue or not, healing requires an individualized integrated preventive treatment approach. Most people have multi-layered aspects of interpersonal loss, which often transcend from one generation to another.